Chargers give first look at stadium-convention center project

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SAN DIEGO – Renderings of a proposed downtown stadium and convention center expansion were posted to the San Diego Chargers website Thursday.

“This is a conceptual design intended to convey the Chargers’ vision for what the stadium and convention center expansion could look like,” the Chargers stated. “The final design will be the result of a design process conducted with the Joint Powers Authority, the City or other governmental entity designated by the City to coordinate the construction of the stadium and convention center expansion.”

San Diego voters would have to approve the stadium-center expansion project if it makes it on the ballot.

The Chargers will begin their signature drive to qualify a stadium ballot measure on Saturday at the proposed site of the facility.

The launch event will begin at 11 a.m. at a parking lot at 13th and K streets in the East Village.

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos, quarterback Philip Rivers and former running back LaDainian Tomlinson are among those scheduled to attend, according to the team.

The Chargers need around 67,000 valid signatures to qualify an initiative for the November general election ballot that would, if passed, raise the city of San Diego’s hotel room tax to 16.5 percent to pay for construction of a $1.8 billion stadium and convention center annex.

The tax is currently 10.5 percent, with an additional 2 percent fee that pays for tourism promotion, making the increase effectively 4 percent. The initiative would require two-thirds voter approval because of the tax hike.

The Chargers have pledged to chip in $350 million of their own money and use a $300 million loan from the NFL.

Team officials invited city residents to attend the event to learn more about their plans, register to vote and sign the petitions. The event will also include food and live music.

The Chargers have been asking for a replacement to Qualcomm Stadium for around 15 years. In January, NFL owners rejected their plans to build a playing facility in Carson jointly with the Oakland Raiders, after which Spanos announced he would give San Diego another try.

Spanos said he has an agreement in place to have the Chargers become the second team in a future Inglewood stadium, with the Los Angeles Rams, if the San Diego effort falls through.

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